Hazards from tropical cyclones include storm surge, wind, tornadoes, inland flooding, wave action and rip currents. Impacts of these hazards can vary greatly, depending on the location of landfall, direction of travel, size, forward speed, barometric pressure, wave setup, tides and wind intensity of the storm.
The Texas coast encompasses many diverse local areas, and each locale has its own unique considerations for hurricane vulnerability and response. Although hurricane-force winds can cause significant damage to coastal communities, life-safety hazards, such as flooding and tornadoes, may continue to occur as a storm moves inland and a hurricane is downgraded to a tropical storm or tropical depression. Remnants of hurricanes can cause life-threatening conditions in any part of the state.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins on June 1 and ends on November 30, but tropical cyclones can form outside of those dates. Historically, tropical cyclone activity peaks around September 10. Prior to the beginning of hurricane season it is important for residents in designated hurricane evacuation zones to know their zone and develop evacuation plans, deciding where to go and how to get there. Mass evacuations can strain fuel supplies, so it is essential for coastal residents to keep fuel in their vehicles during hurricane season.
Coastal residents should also prepare a kit to take with them, and include everything needed in the event that their home is destroyed. Coastal structures can be effectively strengthened to protect against the wind, but storm surge is far more destructive. Between 1963 and 2012 over half of US tropical cyclone fatalities were due to storm surge.
With proper warning and protective measures, much of the loss of life from future hurricanes can be avoided. When local elected officials make the call, don’t hesitate, evacuate.